Monday, January 24, 2011

State of the Union Address Scheduled for Tomorrow Night

Use the President's Address to Help Young People Connect with Contemporary Events

Tomorrow night President Obama will make his state of the union address to Congress. What policies and legislative goals will the president be promoting? Is the state of the union address important? Need we watch? Need our kids watch?

Among the topics President Obama discussed in last year's speech were job creation, deficit reduction, encouraging American innovation, investing in education, immigration reform, and the need to repeal the military's policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. You can watch the president's 2010 state of the union address on

You can read the text of previous state of the union addresses (back to 1982) on the website of the government printing office.

What might President Obama be proposing for Americans in tomorrow's speech?
Events such as the state of the union address provide a perfect opportunity to continue our dialog about American history and politics with our young people. Encourage young people to watch the president's address. Watch it with them! When the speech is over, turn off the TV pundits and discuss the speech. What did they think about it? Do they agree with the president's proposals? Why or why not? Take the time to help young people make the connection to their own lives.

Learn more about the constitutional requirements for the state of the union address, plus additional information regarding guests and opposition responses, in the article
"State of the Union Addresses and Messages" on the American Presidency Project website.

Help Young People Make Connections with Our White House

An excellent resource to consult regarding the presidency, politics, and American history is the NCBLA’s art and literature anthology Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out. Our White House seeks to build on the logical links between literacy, historical literacy, and civic engagement. Coordinating activities and discussion suggestions, as well as additional articles, are available on the book's supplemental website:

On, learn from a political speech writer how a state of the union address differs from an inaugural address in "Writing Political Speeches: An Interview with Thomas LaFauci.

Also on, discover research tips to help adults guide young people in their quest for knowledge, Presidential facts, tips on visiting the White House, and an extensive guide of additional history websites you can share with young people. 

You can find Our White House at your local library. Our White House is also available in both hardcover and paperback at a bookstore near you!